Call center jobs relocation bills up for discussion

TRENTON – The Senate Economic Growth Committee has scheduled a discussion – but not a vote – on a proposal regarding transfer of call center operations overseas.

The committee will take testimony Thursday on A2651/S1920, which mandates 120 days notice be given to the state before a company moves a call center operation or at least 30 percent of its operating volume to a foreign country.

The hearing coincides with a public relations campaign launched by organized labor in support of the bills.  The Assembly version cleared the lower chamber 56-23 largely along party lines in March.

The issue of sending jobs overseas is a particularly sensitive one during this stubborn economic downturn and with a presidential election season gearing up.

“The loss of thousands of high-quality jobs with good benefits is devastating to New Jersey’s economy and working families,” said Bill Huber, business manager of IBEW Local 827, in a release.

According to IBEW and CWA District One, companies should not receive state subsidies if they are going to move jobs overseas.

The bills up for discussion would establish a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per day for each violation of the notification provision.

In addition, the bills would have the state compile a list of companies that do shift such jobs offshore and mandate that those businesses would be ineligible for any state grants, loans or tax benefits for a period of time.

The coalition – which includes other labor unions as well as the Black Ministers Council, the Jewish Labor Committee, National Organization for Women New Jersey, and other groups, set up a website – notaxbreaksnj.org – to publicize its campaign. Call center jobs relocation bills up for discussion